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Gandhi: A Memoir

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  423 ratings  ·  32 reviews
At the beginning of the 1930s, historian William L. Shirer was sent to India by the Chicago Tribune to cover the rise of the Independence Movement. During this time Shirer was privileged to observe Mahatma Gandhi as he launched the Civil Disobedience Campaign and to enjoy his personal friendship and confidence.

In this fascinating memoir, Shirer writes perceptively and unfo
Paperback, 255 pages
Published January 1st 1981 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 14th 1980)
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Amit Kurien
As an Indian grown-up in post-independence India, I learnt about the great man and his formidable aides (Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu et al.) only through history books, articles by other Indians of the post-independence India, through newspapers, talks - all forums where M. K. Gandhi is spoken of always as someone who along with other freedom fighters got it all correct, and sorted for India. Reading Shirer after such an experience makes for good reading of Gandhi. What o ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I became very interested in Gandhi during high school. Revolution was in the air, had been in the air throughout the post-war period, since before my birth, but it had come home by the time I entered secondary school. The enormity of the unnecessary suffering in the world was staggering and my country was responsible for much of it. While I gave an ear to all revolutionary movements and radicals promoting solutions, Gandhi was especially appealing in that he had actually participated in leading ...more
Wilson Bell
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it

This book is an interesting introduction to Gandhi. It was written by the international news correspondent of the old school William Shirer who, apparently fairly open minded and liberal in nature, actually seemed to "get" Gandhi on a certain level and obviously admired and respected him greatly.

Though Shirer's actual personal contact with Gandhi was limited to a brief period of time during 1930-32, he remained in persoanl correspondence with him throughout the rest of his life and, of course, h
Matt Gunderson
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Matt by: Erik Graff
Can't remember any book that I've read in the recent years that has touched me so deeply. Absolutely beautiful.
Doug Wilhelm
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I've had this paperback for a while, not sure where I found it -- but I picked it up while recovering from covid-19 and was completely engrossed. In the early 1930s, William Shirer was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune who was covering the turbulent rise of fascism in Europe when he was dispatched to India, to report on something totally new to him -- Mahatma Gandhi's leadership of a political movement unlike any in history. As the inspirational leading light of India's Congress Party, Gandhi h ...more
Yew Han
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book and author successfully delivers the experience of witnessing the journey of Gandhi’s cause in the light of a personal aide. The storytelling aspect, especially the cliffhangers were done moderately and harmoniously. The footnotes from the after creation editing presumably, delivers a greater context and insight towards the subject and presents a greater overview of the matter, incorporating various parties and their input. With all of these components in play, reading this is as if wat ...more
V. Subhash
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
William L. Shirer mentions Gandhi slept with naked women to test his will power. I don’t recall reading this in Gandhi’s autobiography. Even based on other accounts, it seems that Gandhi was at worst a fetishist. Though it is unlikely that Gandhi would have deliberately pursued the girls against their will, he seems to have taken advantage of them. Everything else that Gandhi preached and did was right – from ahimsa to village economy to letting Jinnah get lost with Pakistan.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A memoir of Gandhi by a journalist who greatly admired him -- William Shirer, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other books about the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a funny, witty, charming, passionate, amazing,intelligent human being .......always believing in TRUTH
Dennis Tra
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A close personal look at Gandhi's struggle to gain freedom for India. The book loses something in last chapter,just an opinion
Omkar Mankame
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Shirer, the American journalist, covered Gandhi's life from 1930 to 1932. It is an intriguing read because the book unveils a few stories of the Mahatma which are not often told.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: great-nonfiction
Let me qualify the 3 stars. This subject of Gandhi's life is the most incredible cake served in the styrofoam cup of this book. The cake proved a bit difficult to eat. Why? Well, major lack of sentence fluency. AND major overabundance of words per sentence. (I give two sentences at the bottom of my review as examples.) I wonder if Shirer was a bit ADD. Or perhaps I don't understand his journalism style of writing. Either is possible. However, the content must have overcome the distracting writin ...more
The Final Chapter
High 3. This is an interesting eye-witness account from the author who was sent by the Chicago Tribune to cover Gandhi's Civil Disobedience Movement between 1930-32. Shirer provides an insightful memoir which displays the inspirational yet contradictory figure who so tormented the British Empire's hold on the 'jewel in the crown'. The author captures the amazing scenes of the vast crowds who surged dangerously to see their
saviour and the endless energy and enthusiasm of this elderly iconic figur
Mar 31, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in Justice
This book gave me a better grasp of Gandhi's life - and particularly his political contributions. It is written from an American's perspective. Shirer was a reporter from the Chicago Tribune assigned to travel with and cover's Gandhi's activities. It seems that Gandhi took a liking to Shirer thus he was given a unique window into Gandhi's daily life and thoughts. The author is effusive in his praise for Gandhi - though he is also honest about some of Gandhi's idiosyncracies and contradictions.
Mychal V
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: someone interested in the civil-disobedience movement and non-violence movements
Shelves: goodreads
I started reading this book because I have always been interested in Gandhi's civil-disobedience and nonviolence movements against the British. I never really knew much about his country's circumstances until having read this book. It was an interesting background of the lives of those in India throughout the early to mid 1900s. The book offered a great background and story of Gandhi, but it did get a little too graphic at the end when it discussed the Mahatama's sex life...Otherwise, I really l ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
William Shirer covers the important time of Indian and Gandhi history. During the 1931-32, Gandhi had to deal with Irwin and Willington in India, plus the second round table conference where the British's politics and the several Indian self appointed groups pettiness sowed the seeds for the 1947 bloodshed. Shirer throws light on those events. He records the firsthand accounts without any prejudice or taking sides. He also records his criticisms about Gandhi's some of the disturbing experiments. ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Ghandi is amazing because he peacefully overthrew the strongest imperialist force in the world and a large country to democracy. I wanted to know more about this feat, and this book described the relationship between this American news reporter and Ghandi. Ghandi accomplished his goals by working hard, knowing what was right, and being typically Indian. He set examples for many other civil rights leaders, who like he, suffered persecution and still won their ideals.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, read-2009
Provides a fairly even-handed story of an American journalist's friendship with Mahatma Gandhi, and examines the cultural, political and interpersonal environs in which he moved and lived.
Useful as a primer in modern Indian history, since one rarely gets a perspective on Gandhi or the struggle for Indian independence (or the creation of Pakistan) from most casual awareness of history.
Matthew Carlin
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Perfect. Shirer is the best possible primary source to tell Westerners about the great Eastern man. I found this book a delightful, relatively easy read, and I feel like I learned a lot from it, not just about history, but about life.
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
William Shirer's memoir about the year he spend with Gandhi in India. Not the best book I've read by Shirer, but good nevertheless. I am not sure Gandhi's ideas were quite as good as Shirer believed, but it was good enough that now I have to read Gandhi's biography.
This was really cool to hear from William's point of view - he was really even handed and did a good job describing what happened behind the scenes.
Bryan Neuschwander
Engaging portrait of a remarkable man.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it
A good read, but I have never read another book about the man so I feel like I am missing info about his childhood and early years too.
Tom Schulte
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A mostly political biography of one of the most dynamic and far-sighted leaders of this Century, from the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Jean Marie Angelo
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
A worthy read. Bears rereading some day.
A short well-written memoir of a mighty man!
Anshu Raj Singh
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A below average book, written by a man who was in contact with Gandhi for a short duration, and was in awe of him.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Insightful first hand information to a saintly great man's history.
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William Lawrence Shirer was an American journalist and historian. He became known for his broadcasts on CBS from the German capital of Berlin through the first year of World War II.

Shirer first became famous through his account of those years in his Berlin Diary (published in 1941), but his greatest achievement was his 1960 book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, originally published by Simon

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